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Ronde van Vlaanderen. Michael Valgren is 11th after a brave race

The famous Belgian monumental classic race Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) has been held today between Antwerp and Oudenaarde (261 km).

Astana rider Michael Valgren did a very strong and brave race and supported by his teammates he finished 11th in his debut Tour of Flanders.

- Yeah, I am quite happy with my debut Tour of Flanders. My goal was to get a place in the Top-10 and I was really close to it, missed just a little in the final sprint. I am happy with the way I did this race: I was able to stay in front with the best riders, we were fighting almost for the podium in this race. During the last Kwaremont I missed some power in my legs to follow Niki Terpstra, otherwise I could be there in front. Anyway, it was a nice race, which I tried to do in an active mode. I had a strong support from my teammates. This year I had a debut on the cobbled classics in Belgium and I can say I really enjoyed it. Indeed, these are very tough races where you have to hold 100% concentration during all day. But, it was an amazing experience, - explained Michael Valgren.

The winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen 2017 became the Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, who won after his solo attack with something 60 km to go. The race podium was completed by Greg Van Avermaet and Niki Terpstra, who attacked on the Oude Kwaremont. Michael Valgren has launched an attack to join the leading group, but finally finished in a bigger chasing group, taking 11th place.

- Michael did a very good race today. For him everything went almost according to the plan we had before the race. He had a good support from teammates and was able to save some energy in the first part of the distance. Later, he did his best to be with the favorites. He was feeling better and better to the final of the race doing a nice job in front. Of course, he is still missing something comparing to the leaders, but he is on the right way. He showed himself very well today. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck today with another team leaders Alexey Lutsenko and Matti Breschel. Lutsenko had to change his bike for several times in a really bad moment, while Breschel, who was in a group with Valgren, had to stop for a wheel changing atop Koppenberg. Also, Dmitriy Gruzdev was hit by a dog on the road. We did a good team for the classic season and we are progressing day by day and week by week. I think we had a potential to do much better with some luck, but anyway, I can note a nice debut of Michael Valgren today, - said sports director Lars Michaelsen.

On Wednesday, April 5th Astana Proteam will take part in another classic race – the Scheldeprijs.

Photo credit: © Bettiniphoto

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